Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catching up plays in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Obligatory Penn State mention: Mark Emmert is saying ominous things about (insert team here) Penn State that kinda/sorta give the impression that (a) he gets it and (b) hoo boy this could be really bad for Penn State:
The president of the NCAA says he isn't ruling out the possibility of shutting down the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

In a PBS interview Monday night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said he doesn't want to "take anything off the table" if the NCAA determines penalties against Penn State are warranted.

Emmert said he's "never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university. ...

"This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like (what) happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with. This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem."
And the nut graf (in quote form):
"There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal. Well, it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem."
The bolded-for-emphasis comments there indicate a pretty obvious stance on jurisdiction ("a football scandal ... but much more") and a pretty obvious stance on the irrelevance of precedence from one of the few guys whose stances on said things actually matter. I still don't think the death penalty (the freakin' death penalty!) is likely but can't totally dismiss it at this point.

BTW, Penn State president Rodney Erickson said Tuesday that he's "already started the process of starting to compose that response" now that he's consulted with a team of 873 lawyers and will have a response finished "over the course of the next few days." Whether that response will include any proposed penalties is unknown. Also unknown: What the NCAA's timeline will look like with an investigation already having been done for them. I'm no Michael Buckner but have to believe that the scenario in which Penn State doesn't field a team this year (or doesn't get to play nonconference games or whatever) is a pretty unlikely one considering that the season starts in, like, a month.

And one more: The important people in important positions within the Big Ten are considering this-is-serious-stuff-guys consequences:
The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting Big Ten leaders are weighing a series of proposals in an 18-page plan prompted by the current situation at Penn State. Among the ideas being thrown around include removing the university from the conference.

The Big Ten handbook requires at least a 60 percent vote from the league's Council of Presidents and Chancellors to expel a member, although a Big Ten spokesperson told the Chronicle that number will rise to 70 percent for 2012-13.
Add this to the "unlikely but can't be totally dismissed" category.

We must protect this house: The likelihood of the bowl-eligibility threshold shifting from six wins to seven has gone from "high-ish" to "basically zero." This is from Jim Delany ...
"I thought there was an emerging situation among all the conferences to move it to 7-5. And what I've learned in the last 30-60 days is that a number of the major conferences are wanting to keep it at six. If that's the case, that's probably where it'll stay. It's the major conferences that will be losing slots as a result of going to seven. It's status quo, 6-6, unless there's a compromise." 
... and this is from Football Bowl Association director Wright Waters ...
Waters said that several conferences, after consulting with their ADs and presidents late this spring, didn't want to reduce the pool of bowl teams by increasing the demands to get there. Major conferences that have recently expanded, such as the SEC and Big 12, have reservations about changing a rule that would send fewer of its teams bowling.
Of course they do; it's sooooo important that Missouri be eligible for the Craptacular City Bowl after inevitably going 3-6 in SEC play (insert "Texas Tech" in place of "Missouri" and "Big 12" in place of "SEC" if west of the Mississippi).

Horrifying tidbit from CBS Sports: 19.2 percent of all bowl teams the last two years went 6-6. That's almost 20 percent!!! UGHGHGH. The bottom 10 or so bowls are leeching off the relevant-but-thoroughly-mediocre teams in order to sustain their collective existence; that's lame but won't stop as long as the relevant-but-thoroughly-mediocre support said existence in order to sell some crappy t-shirts, create a witty hashtag and claim "SEASON: SUCCESS."

Possible mitigating factor: The conferences' takeover of some bowl TV rights and (in the case of the Champions Bowl) ticket guarantees might eventually extend to the bottom-of-the-barrel bowls, at which point the leeching will no longer be an issue. The only issue at that point will be an ROI one: It'll be up to the conferences to decide whether it's worth the cost to put on a game featuring one 6-6 team playing another 6-6 team in front of 23,000 people in Albuquerque.

Bye bye, Ray-Ray: The spectacularly named and always entertaining Ray-Ray Armstrong is done at Miami:
The controversial career of Ray-Ray Armstrong is officially over at the University of Miami.

The school announced the star safety's dismissal from the football program in a news release Wednesday morning. The statement said Armstrong had the option to remain at the university under scholarship or transfer with a full release of his scholarship. UM gave no specific reason for the dismissal.
Armstrong was one of the Nevin Shapiro dudes and thus was suspended for four games at the start of last year; he also sat out the Florida State game after a dinner-paid-for-by-a-friendly-agent thing. In between, he was pretty good: He was nominally a backup but had 34 tackles and a pick after racking up 79 and three as a sophomore starter. And he would've started again this year with JoJo Nicolas gone; talent was never an issue.

The issue: He's only got a year of eligibility left and can't stop doing stupid things. If you're thinking "Alabama State," I'm thinking "you're right."

As for Miami, there will be a drop-off (of some degree) at strong safety; seniors with legit NFL talent and a year and a half of starting(-ish) experience aren't entirely replaceable. A.J. Highsmith is a junior who arrived with some recruiting hype, has accumulated a whopping 12 tackles in two years and probably will take over the starting job by default. Good news: The secondary as a whole will probably be fine with Vaughn Telemaque being Vaughn Telemaque and Brandon McGee holding down one of the corner spots. It's also worth noting that Miami won't be winning anything of significance this year, which makes trying to determine an exact WAR-type value for a now-departed senior a relatively pointless endeavor.

Going to class is necessary (even at Alabama): Duron Carter -- probably better known as the son of Cris Carter -- left Alabama this week for reasons unknown. An amazing and academically blissful history: Carter went to Ohio State as a relatively big-time recruit in  '09, had 13 catches as a true freshman, flunked out, went to Coffeyville Community College for a year, transferred to Alabama, was academically ineligible last year and might have been academically ineligible for the fall (Alabama's not saying and never will now that he's gone).

He reportedly wants to transfer to Florida Atlantic and get a waiver to play immediately, which ... ummm ... good luck with that (barring some unknown family crisis, which is basically what's required for most waiver approvals). And a waiver wouldn't be relevant if he's academically ineligible; that's an NCAA guideline that applies everywhere. Maybe there's more to the story; we'll presumably find out.

FYI, he has two years of eligibility left (but no redshirts if he can't play this year).

The Big East has money but no (relevant) teams: WOO BIG EAST LAW-TALKIN' GUYS. First was this ...
The Big East reached an agreement Monday with Syracuse University, allowing the Orange to leave the league a year early for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Syracuse announced last fall its intention to join the ACC, but under Big East bylaws the school needed to serve a 27-month exit period. Instead, the Orange will now be allowed to leave on July 1, 2013 and will have to pay a fee of $7.5 million to depart. That's $2.5 million more than specified in the conference bylaws.
... and then this ...
Pittsburgh's bitter breakup with the Big East finally has an official separation date.

Pitt and the conference announced Wednesday that the school will pay $7.5 million to join Syracuse in leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference on July 1, 2013.
... and then this:
The Big East dropped its lawsuit against TCU on Wednesday and will receive the $5 million it was seeking from the school after it bailed out on a commitment to join the conference, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Upshot: Pitt, Syracuse and TCU have their freedom and the Big East has (or will have) $20 million. I'll tell ya what I'd do with $20 million, man:

I'd do nothing. Obvsly.

Onside kicks not so much: The rule change of interest back in February was the kickoff-related one (kickoffs are moving to the 35 and touchbacks are moving to the 25, which will seem totally insane for about six weeks). This change generated zero publicity at the time but is ... ummm ... interesting:
After a kickoff hits the ground — specifically on a one-hop onside kick — the receiving team gets an opportunity to fair catch that ball. "A lot of our coaches," Shaw said, "have said that will almost take that one-hop (onside) kick out of the game."
Whaaaaa? That Shaw guy (SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw) is right: That will almost take the onside kick out of the game. The "almost" qualifier is only necessary in that it might be tough to make a fair-catch signal on an unexpected onside kick that's gonna go from foot to an unsuspecting player in the span of about a second. But the expected onside kicks will now rest entirely on the hopes of a crazy bounce off a receiving-team player, something that does happen occassionaly but will probably happen with less frequency given the option of zero kicking-team interference. Perfect assessment:
Eliminating onside kicks, which happen maybe once a game, is sacrificing that small element of "what if" that goes through your head and sometimes comes to spectacular fruition so that a maximum of twelve plays a year are marginally less dangerous.
Yup. Boo-urns.


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.